Angels forfeit season, possibly Shohei Ohtani with series of questionable roster moves

Tell me the Angels are giving up without telling me the Angels are giving up. What in the world is going on with their latest roster moves?
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

Tuesday's roster cut deadline was meant for NFL teams only, but maybe the Los Angeles Angels accidentally got CC'ed on the memo.

As first reported by ESPN's Jeff Passan, the Angels announced they were placing five players on waivers: starter Lucas Giolito, relievers Matt Moore and Reynaldo Lopez, and outfielders Hunter Renfroe and Randal Grichuk.

Each of the five players can be claimed by any MLB team for zero compensation on Thursday.

Passan made it clear that the Angels' intention behind this shocking move was to dump players' salaries. Such is the result of poor planning and misjudgment: the Angels had the opportunity to sell instead of buy at the trade deadline on Aug. 1 but had at the time thought their season was worth saving.

Now, they're left selling parts for free. Somewhere, Shohei Ohtani is shaking his head.

Free pickings: Angels have officially given up on 2023 season

Passan notes that in accordance with the waiver-wire guidelines, the team with the worst record that claims a player will receive said player.

Playoff-contending teams in the thick of wild-card races could have the advantage here, as long as those teams are willing to take on those players' contracts. The Marlins, Padres, and Reds all come to mind as the biggest potential winners from the Angels' salary dump.

If all five players are claimed, the Angels are expected to save around $7 million in salary over the final month of the season. If a player doesn't get claimed, he will remain under contract in L.A.

As of now, the Angels are projected to be roughly $5.5 million over the $233 million competitive-balance-tax threshold, per Spotrac.

Oh, how the fate of a team can change in the span of a month. After acquiring several players at the trade deadline -- including Giolito, Lopez, and Grichuk -- the Angels appeared determined to make a late playoff push, banking on Ohtani's heroics and Mike Trout's return. Four weeks later, Ohtani and Trout are on the shelf, and the Angels' horrific 7-17 record in August means the franchise can add another tally to its now nine-year playoff drought.

The Angels had already bowed out of playoff baseball before this mass roster purge. Tuesday's moves just go to show that the Angels will end the 2023 season with their tails between their legs and with superstar Ohtani perhaps finally realizing that he deserves better.

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